Thursday, February 20, 2014

What's With Republican Governors?

Scott Walker, the perfect GOP governor. And his eyes are dreamy...

Republicans built up quite a lead in state houses across the country in the past decade, with 29 GOP governors versus 21 Democrats. The GOP may continue this trend, although the ineptitude demonstrated on a regular basis isn't helping. Cases in point:
  • Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia behaved so badly that, coupled with former Attorney General Ken "It's all about the vagina" Cuccinelli's habit of making it, well, all about the vagina, he not only helped Cuccinelli lose but also got himself and his wife indicting on corruption charges.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana was a Rhodes scholar wunderkind with a bright future before tanking in his GOP response to an Obama SOTU speech and extending his losses by trying to eliminate state income taxes in favor of raising and expanding the regressive sales tax. That bombed and flatlined his statewide popularity. Backing a school voucher program that didn't pass the constitutional smell test didn't help.
  • Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was living a charmed life by turning a hurricane disaster and an Obama embrace into soaring poll numbers and a landslide reelection. He actually was able to turning his bullying persona ("What's a matter with you, are you stupid?!?") into an image plus. Then New Jersey and the country caught on to the fact, through Bridgegate, that Chris Christie is a bully's bully who leveraged this technique his whole political career from high school right up to becoming the Republican frontrunner for 2016. Now he couldn't be elected "Most Likely to be a Bully" in a middle-school yearbook.
  • Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina was doing a great job of taking North Carolina, once near the top of the list of 21st-century-ready states, back to the 19th century (with saner NC folks leading an ongoing protest known as "Moral Mondays") when he decided the best way to attract quality attention was to throw a governor hissy fit and get a gay grocery-store cook fired for failing to give the guv some love. Heckuva job, McCrory.
  • Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin was already getting a second look as a possible GOP 2016 contender -- mostly because everyone else is more than tanking -- in spite of the fact that fundraising scandals were circling him while leaving him inexplicably clean of hand. Now a 28,000 document release shows that Walker and his staff maintained a secret email system separate from the official state email system, and a few emails are coming out making his staff look, well, a little worse than they already appeared. (Like Christie, Walker's staff while Milwaukee County Executive have been caught up in scandal, with six former aides or associates convicted last year.) Walker seems to be skating past the debris, but an ongoing look at the document dump and a John-Doe investigation or two may yet snag him. Some supporters are still shouting "2016!" Yeah, sure.
  • Gov. Paul LePage of Maine is behaving as if someone is hiding his meds. Actually it's his virile opposition to an anti-overdose medication, Narcan -- a proven lifesaver -- that has him grabbing recent headlines. Apparently saving drug users from dying is, for LePage, a "moral hazard." Since he's fiercely opposed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in his state, we can only suppose that health insurance is a moral hazard, as well. 
  • Gov. Rick Scott of Florida might as well be added to this list if only because his failed attempt to get welfare applicants to submit to a drug test -- at their expense -- was last month, wait for it, declared unconstitutional. Scott, a former healthcare magnate who pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of Medicare fraud, was fined $600 million, and was still elected governor of Florida, has seen his approval numbers sink to 23 percent. He is, naturally, running for reelection. Godspeed, Guv.
I could go on, but I'm only featuring GOP governors who have damaged both their personal brands and the GOP brand in general. Those who are up for reelection may still be reelected -- Walker comes to mind -- but no one could or should seriously take the position that these politicians are either moral or competent. We'll see. They are proven fundraisers.

There's also the fact that a lot of what they do is loved by the Republican base. And until cranky white people no longer have as much clout -- and, cranky white people, that day is coming -- then they'll still be a factor, especially in off-year elections.

Also, I didn't spend time providing links, but if you wish, google their names with different words, like scandal, fraud, approval, etc. It's fun.

I guess you can only bully so long before they figure out you are a dick.

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